Mumbai, July 7: To combat with the rising cases of lynching, many people stepped out raising their voice and asked for a new law to tackle the situation in the country.
The National Campaign Against Mob Lynching was founded by youth leaders Tehseen Poonawalla, Shehla Rashid, Kanhaiya Kumar and Jignesh Mewani last month after taking a cognizance to the rising number of mob lynchings.
Since then, the murders of DSP Ayub Pandith, Hafiz Junaid and Alimuddin, have taken place, which drew public attention in the form of #NotInMyName protests. Even the Prime Minister finally broke his silence to condemn lynchings by self-proclaimed gau rakshaks.
According to the Quint reports, Prior to the launch of the Manav Suraksha Kanoon (MASUKA), prepared by a Drafting Committee headed by Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde, they have discussed the problems and their hopes for MASUKA.
The biggest challenge to a law such as MASUKA is garnering the requisite political will and fighting off the naysayers. Tehseen Poonawalla believes that:
Shehzad Poonawalla, a Congress member and lawyer, says that this is a bipartisan bill, not a political gimmick. He even suggests that there is cross-party support, with BJP MPs willing to table the bill as a private member’s bill, if necessary.
Anas Tanwir, a lawyer who worked on the drafting of the bill, stresses that the bill does not discriminate on the basis of religion – all victims of lynching are covered under it.
There has been criticism from even more informed members of the public that this law is not the solution, but instead, police reform is required.
The issue of police reform is actually one of the cornerstones of the draft MASUKA, directing policemen responsible for failing to control a crowd and suspending them if they fail to do their job.
Sanjay Hegde cleared that MASUKA differs from existing law as it says:
All of us are individual minorities. Each of us has a dimension where we could be a minority… This law aims to protect the individual minority, at the street level against being attacked by a majority, who have a feeling of immunity when they are in a mob.
The bill also seeks to ensure that the victims of such attacks and their families are rehabilitated and compensated, with mandatory state aid to be provided, as well as payment to the victims’ families of the fines paid by perpetrators.
Also, to refrain from being misused and misapplied, the way sedition law is by lower courts and police, Pranjal Kishore explained that there will be special courts meant to deal with cases under this law.